Breakfast In a Flash That Works For The Long Haul- Teen Approved

Make even the most rushed breakfasts loaded with nutrients so you and/or your kids can function your best! 

My 13 year old gets picked up at 715am for school (note- he is NOT a morning person) which makes delicious and nourishing breakfasts tricky sometimes.  

Not with this gem that we pull out a few days a week when he needs nourishment in a flash. 

It’s loaded with the macronutrients he needs to stay sharp and energized without crashing later and the micronutrients so his body can function optimally. It’s anti inflammatory and gut healing to boot.  Oh, and it takes about 3 minutes to make and tastes delish. 👊🏼

  • 1.5 cups of milk (we use homemade almond, full fat coconut milk with a little water, or raw whole milk)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate bone broth protein powder (we use ancient nutrition brand)
  • 1 organic banana
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • optional scoop of chocolate multi vitamin (we use amazing grass kids superfood, chocolate flavor here)
  • optional tsp chia, flax, or hemp 

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend. 

Pour into cup and watch your kiddos devour it

Tweak portions to match your tastes. You can add more liquid, less, add ice, whatever floats your boat.

Don’t let rushed mornings dictate the quality of the nutrients you put into your body. Rock it in a flash with nutrient dense smoothies!

The Perfect Chai to Warm Your Soul

The smell of homemade chai brewing on the stovetop is definitely one of the things I love most about the fall.

My kids start asking for chai as the temp gets chilly and the pumpkins start to appear. We have made it a family ritual to drink chai in the fall and it feels good for so many reasons. The chai teas that you get out are way too sugary for us so making it at home keeps the deliciousness but skips the scoops of white sugar that make us sick.

First off the spices in chai- cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and ginger are all herbal stimulants, which mean they enliven and warm the body. This is perfect for the fall when things are getting cold and slow. They are all also herbal digestives and carminatives which both help with overall digestion and gas. Cloves also have antibacterial component which is perfect for this time of year when colds are common. There are many phytochemicals, or unique plant constituents, that are powerful health allies in each of the herbs in chai.

I am not one for a recipe per say but here is our basic formula that I tweak daily depending what we want more of that day (spice, caffeine, etc). You can start here and vary things as you and your family like.

  • 20 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons of whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons of whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
  • 1 inch of sliced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea or rooibos tea if wanting caffeine free (you can use tea bags too)
  • honey to taste
  • your favorite milk if wanted (we use full fat organic coconut milk, homemade almond milk, or raw whole milk)

Put the water on the stove on high.

When this is heating up grind the dry spices in a spice grinder briefly, just to break them down a bit not to powder. You can use a coffee grinder designated just for spices/nuts (this is a crucial tool I use almost daily in my house). I usually snap the cinnamon stick in half first or grind it separately.

Reduce heat when boiling to medium and add spices.

Add sliced ginger.

Let this brew on the stovetop on medium low anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour (because sometimes I need to wait for the right time with busy mornings).

Take off heat and add black tea (or rooibos). You can also skip tea and just go with herbs. Let steep an additional 5 minutes or so if adding tea.

I strain this into a large bowl using a large muslin herb bag (see photo). You can also put the spices into this kind of bag before you add them to the water so you can take it right out. That is much easier I just like watching the herbs float around in the pot. A third option is a mesh strainer like this one at the end.

Pour into cups. Add honey to taste. Add warmed milk to taste (I add a heavy splash but not too much). You can make it fancier by steaming your milk but we don’t find it necessary. ENJOY

Keep extra chai tea in mason jar in the fridge to warm up when someone needs a soothing cup of fall goodness.

“All Disease Start In The Gut”- Hippocrates. 10 reasons why……

Our gut is the place that the outside world interacts with our inside world, all day every day. The health of our gut impacts every single system in the body and must be addressed when looking at any disease or symptom. What happens in the gut sets the stage for health or disease to take root. No matter what other route you are taking to heal, addressing gut function is key.

What directly impacts gut health? Food, lifestyle, mindset, and environment. Wait, holistic health is important for a biochemical reason? Yup!

1.Many of our genes are turned off or on depending on what comes in from the outside world through our gut and the condition of our gut. New science shows us that we are not our genes but instead what health promoting or disease promoting genes turn on depending what environment they are in (epigenetics and gene expression). 7, 1

2. Around 70% of our immune system is in our gut. What we eat directly affects the status and health of our immune system. Our immune system can be under functioning (as with cancer or constantly catching infections) or over functioning (such as autoimmunity, allergies, and chronic inflammation). We need our immune system to activate, work, and then return back to monitoring. The foods we eat, how we digest them, and the environment of our digestive tract can turn this chronically on or deliver input that leads to downstream immune dysfunction. (Take the thyroid for example you can have high antibodies for 8 years before your thyroid is seriously damaged or you even have symptoms! That gives you almost a decade to turn things around with food before disease sets in!) 8, 4

3. Many of the neurotransmitters we need for brain health are produced in our gut and are essential for our mental health. When the gut is not functioning correctly the brain can be directly impacted through these messengers. That serotonin you need to feel good? Most of that is made in the gut! Even gluten, cassein, and sugar can have opiate affects in our brain! 1, 3

Our gut is even considered our second brain. The vagus nerve directly connects our gut to our brain and there are messages that go both ways on this nerve, keeping the brain in our head constantly informed as to what is going on in our gut (not just vice versa as we once thought). When our gut dysfunctions or is inflammed our brain can dysfunction in result. This is known as our Gut/Brain Axis. 7

4. Almost every nutrient we need to function is broken down, absorbed, or made in our gut. We need our gut functioning properly to get these vital nutrients and precursors. We can be eating a perfect diet and still not be getting these nutrients we need if we are not digesting and absorbing them correctly (stomach acid problems, lack of enzymes, bile issues, vili damage, the wrong microbes, eating foods we are sensitive to, and more). Stress can even cause a digestive system breakdown leading to downstream symptoms and disease. 1,3

5. Our gut is the home to millions of microbes. We have 150 times more bacterial genes than human genes and 10 times more intestinal bacterial cells than human cells. What? Yes! This bacteria communicates directly with our entire body and impacts gene expression, brain function, metabolism, nutrient absorption, immune function, hormone detox, and more. These microbes produce certain nutrients and break down harmful substances. The food we eat and our lifestyle directly affect the quality of our gut bacteria (microbiome and dysbiosis) and in result our overall health. 1, 4,5,6

6. We need our gut to absorb the appropriate sized particles but to keep out particles that do not belong and that our body sees as invaders. The food we eat, our lifestyle and medications all impact this important barrier function of our gut (‘leaky gut’ or hyper-permeable membrane are factors in autoimmunity, oxidative damage and more). Even healthy foods can cause damage when there is a leaky gut. 1, 3, 4, 6

7. We need a properly functioning gut and liver/kidneys to eliminate and get rid of waste. It is important this happens in a timely manner so these substances can be eliminated and not linger wreaking havoc (including harmful toxins and used hormones). Toxins can cause endless downstream problems and the truth is we have exponentially more exposure today to these harmful substances than ever (pesticides, air pollution, plastics, etc). Ensuring our body has the extra nutrients it needs to detox them properly is vital. 7,8,1,3

8. Our gut can be a major cause of chronic inflammation. New research shows that Chronic Inflammation may be a leading factor to all chronic disease. Food itself can cause inflammation as does our gut when it is not functioning properly somewhere along the route. Down regulating inflammation is essential to healing and staying symptom and disease free. We must remove offenders and add foods to support. 2, 4, 5

9. Our Mitochondria, or energy makers in our body, are also impacted by the condition of our gut! What? Our mitochondria and cells need certain nutrients to produce energy and remain undamaged. 5, 2

10. Hormones– Blood sugar dysregulation and stress from eating the wrong foods can be the primary cause of many downstream health and hormonal problems, including sleep struggles, energy crashes, cravings, infertility, pms, and many more. With today’s diet is easy to have blood sugar problems and I am not talking about diabetics but instead most Americans because of the foods we choose. Getting a handle on blood sugar and other food stressors are key to overall hormone health and set the stage for healing to occur. 1, 2, 3

Both how your gut is functioning and the foods you are eating directly affects every single part of your body. Your brain, your immune system, your detox organs, your hormones, your genes, your mental health, your energy, your sleep, and more. Your gut is the doorway to health or disease. How is yours functioning?

No matter how minor or major the health problem or symptom is that you are dealing with and regardless of using other medical interventions- the gut needs to be addressed.

Helping people optimize the gut from top to bottom, and in result optimize health for today and for decades down the line is my specialty (and dare I say obsession). I am a Functional Nutritionist, a body detective if you will. Let’s see how the food you eat and your environment are impacting your gut and ultimately how you function and feel as a unique individual. I take a true holistic and grass roots approach to wellness and listen to your story.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates. But that is a bunch of blah blah blah if your digestive system is not functioning correctly.

Heal Before Ideal! Which means we must heal the gut before even the most ideal diet can serve us. Plus, since we are all biochemically unique, what is medicine for me might be poison for you. That fast that saved you might be what tanked me. What? For real.

Let’s chat!

Email or call today for a free 15 minute consult

Janel Ferrin Anderson PhD- Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Family Herbalist, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, endless pursuer of why, and now specializing in advanced individualized diets such as salicylates, oxalates, fodmaps and more.

Mountain Rebalance- Empower, Support, Investigate, and Integrate

This is my hubby (he is an ER doc) and I on many of our awesome runs in the mountains endlessly discussing how western medicine and functional nutrition can and need to work together so people can find true health.
References 
1-Nakayama, Andrea. (2018)Full Body Systems. Functional Nutrition Lab. 
2-Bland, Jeffery. (2016) The Disease Delusion. Harper Collins. NY NY
3-Bauman, Ed. Friedlander, Jodi.  (2016). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook Part 1. Penngrove, CA. Bauman College. 
4-O’Bryan, Tom. (2016) The Autoimmune Fix.  New York, NY:  Rodale Wellness. 
5-Jones, David MD.  (2010) Textbook of Functional Medicine.  Washington
6- Fasano, Dr. Allesio. (2019) Gluten, Autoimmunity, and Leaky Gut. https://chriskresser.com/pioneering-researcher-alessio-fasano-m-d-on-gluten-autoimmunity-leaky-gut/
7. Perlmutter, Dr. David.  (2019) Autism Spectrum Disorder and Pesticide Exposure. Dr.Perlmutter.com
8. Romm, Dr. Aviva. (2018) Reducing Thyroid Antibodies Naturally. Natural MD Radio episode #73


Women’s Group Wellness- Hormone Balance and Total Body Reset/Replenish- FULL for Winter 2020

Learn the tools to Balance Your Hormones, Replenish Your Body and Feel Your Best!

Get the support, information, tools, inspiration, and accountability you need to powerfully transform your health from deep down. Together we will use food, herbs, nutrients and lifestyle to help balance hormones, reduce inflammation, and nourish our entire body.

Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to maximize your health and come away empowered to age your best as your own expert! Things we do today affect our health, hormones, brain function, mood, immune system, digestion, and energy decades down the line.

Let’s do this, women!

These grass root changes will impact sleep, skin issues, libido, energy levels, headaches, immune problems, anxiety, depression, pms symptoms, moodiness, menopause symptoms, sore breasts, digestive problems, joint pain, and more!

Janel offers an incredibly unique and rich angle as a certified holistic nutritionist, a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, a Doctor of natural medicine, an Ayurvedic yoga therapist, Family Herbalist, and someone who has worked with women specifically for decades.

There is endless information out there and it can feel overwhelming to know what the best approach for YOU is. Let me help by teaching you how to listen to YOUR OWN BODY. We will learn how to listen to what our body is telling us, body literacy.

Join the Awesomeness and feel your best!!!

The Plan-

We will meet 4 times in person and 2 times online (with the option of joining online each week but it is way more fun to meet in person especially in my peaceful and zen office to share tea and chat).

Receive your materials on January 1st to have plenty of time to plan and organize. Meet each Monday evening at 7pm for 5 additional weeks online or in person starting on January 6th to learn what and why. Ask questions and learn about how our environment and food impacts how we function and how we age. Gain empowering ways to think into your own health so you can take charge for decades to come. Learn about Root Cause and Functional approach to wellness.

We will use herbs, supplements, food, and lifestyle to reboot and replenish our body. We will be learning a ton about hormones and how they work together and impact our life. Blood sugar, adrenals, thyroid, sex hormones, neurotransmitters, and more.

Be part of our Facebook group to stay connected, share ideas, struggles and, victories.

Learn how to get various optional labs of your choice to help see ‘what’s going on in there’ including serum (blood) labs and hormone (salivary) labs.

Join us and invest in YOU!

My goal is to empower you to understand your body and to support you with all the information and tools you need. This is NOT a cookie cutter program but instead a unique opportunity to learn why and how, not just what to do. You also have unique access to Janel for personal questions and navigating.

All of this for $230 – Early bird price $199 (sign up before December 20th)

Space is limited so we can keep the group intimate

Schedule- Receive info online on January 1st to start getting organized, Meet on January 6th and 13th at my office at 7pm together, Jan 20th meet online together, Jan 27th and Feb 3rd are in my office. You can video call in if needed. Office is located in Truckee by the airport. Meetings will be 7pm-815/830pm.

Feel free to email Janel for more information janel@mountainrebalance.com

Chronic Inflammation and Disease

Acute Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to injury and invasion. It is a beneficial process needed to eliminate the cause of cell injury, to remove dead or injured cells, and to initiate repair.

It is designed to occur and then turn off.

Chronic inflammation occurs when the insult that causes inflammation is not resolved and inflammation persists. Damage begins to occur in result of the prolonged inflammatory processes including increased blood flow, increased capillary permeability, and perpetuating white blood cell action.

Sources of Inflammation-

• cuts
• scrapes
• burns
• splinters
• dirt
• stitches
• microbial toxins
• chemical exposure
• frostbite
• virus
• bacteria
• yeast imbaalance
• parasites
• radiation
• trauma
• heavy metals
• sugar
• gluten
• dairy
• personal food sensitivities/hypersensitivities
• nutrient deficiencies (from lack of or problems absorbing)
• dehydration
• hormone imbalances
• stress
• lack of sleep
• autoimmunity
• intestinal dysbiosis (imbalanced microbiome, aka not the right bacteria)
• medications
• chemotherapy
• genetics
• neurotransmitter imbalances

In today’s world several of these inflammatory triggers persist, leading to chronic inflammation and downstream diseases. Can you tell which ones might become a longterm problem?

List of Some Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (there are many many more)-

ACNE, ARTHRITIS, ALLERGIES, ASTHMA, CELIAC DISEASE, CROHN’S DISEASE, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, CHRONIC PAIN, LYME, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, INSULIN RESISTANCE, OBESITY, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, ALZHEIMER’S, PARKINSON’S, AUTISM, MENTAL ILLNESS, DIABETES, CANCER, CHRONIC INFECTIONS, CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY, OSTEOPOROSIS, CHRONIC FATIGUE, FIBROMYALGIA, INFERTILITY, and more

I help people discover their personal triggers, eliminate their triggers, add anti-inflammatories, calm the immune response, and down regulate inflammation to prevent chronic disease. This is unique to each person depending on genetics, exposure, history, diet, and more. Come dork out with me as we investigate what might be causing internal inflammation for you and then take effective steps to reverse chronic inflammation and optimize health.

Bauman, Ed. Friedlander, Jodi.  (2016). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook Part 1. Penngrove, CA. Bauman College.

References-

Nakayama, Andrea.  (2018) Full Body Systems Functional Nutrition 2018 Program.  Immune Intensive

Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. Inflammation. August 2010. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/inflammation

Hormone Breakdown Video #3- Take Charge of your own health by understanding how you function!

It does not matter if you are experiencing pms discomforts, menopause symptoms, headaches, infertility, fatigue, depression, weight loss problems, energy crashes, insomnia, or any hormone imbalance. Understanding how the system works and backing up is key!

Hormones 101- I discuss briefly in this video the different places hormone imbalance can occur and why one approach to fix it will NOT work for everyone.

Here are the basics –

A hormone is a chemical messenger that affects our entire body including metabolism, growth, fertility, energy, stress, and much more.

  1. There is a gland
  2. A hormone must be made from precursors (nutrients) in the gland
  3. The hormone must travel through your blood to the target call
  4. The target cell must receive the hormone/message
  5. The hormone must be broken down, detoxed, and excreted

If there is a hiccup anywhere along the route there may be a problem. For example –

  1. There may be an autoimmune disease damaging the gland itself which may impact if any or enough of the hormone is made
  2. There may be a nutrient deficiency from either lack of eating them or a problem digesting them which both prevent enough hormone from being made
  3. The target cell may be unable to receive the hormone if there is inflammation or if the receptor is blocked by a specific toxin which prevents the message from being received EVEN IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH OF THE HORMONE
  4. The liver must be functioning properly to detox the used hormones and constipation may prevent the used hormone from being excreted creating an excess of the hormone in the body.

Watch now and become a detective about your own health! Give us a call or email if this way of thinking into health fires you up and you are ready to dig into your own root causes OR just enjoy our videos and info:)

Beyond The Biochemistry is YOU. The True You. Do You Even Know Who That Is? – A call to be who you are meant to be

Knowledge and facts and biochemistry are all important for understanding your own health and healing but so is connecting with who your true authentic and uninhibited self is and then bravely being that person. 

Who are you

What is your calling

Are you doing things to fit other people’s judgments or expectations?

Do you have a dream deep down, a calling that you forgot about or buried?

What’s your true north? 

What is your hearts desire? 

The first step is being able to listen to or feel your true authentic inner voice. Only after that can you be brave enough to follow it and be true to you.

For me the answers to the above questions only come in the quiet or in natural wild places.  It’s only there that I can connect with who I am and feel so clearly my authentic voice, not in my ears but in each of the cells of my body and it feels like home. 

Modern technology, conveniences, and schedules are great and they have their place but they dampen our connection to our true selves.  It’s important to step away and listen to what’s inside on a regular basis. Quiet the stories you tell yourself, quiet other people’s judgments or expectations, and be alone with who you are, as you are. 

Shhhhhhhhhh, do you hear that? Exactly!

As an ayurvedic yoga therapist we were taught that as animals we have an innate wisdom of what is good for us and what we need to heal. The problem is we can’t hear it anymore with life moving so fast, and bright, and loud, blocking us from the natural world we came from. Welcome meditation.  By meditating regularly, and it takes practice, and consistency, we connect with our innate wisdom and inner voice, slowing down to notice  what we need to do or eat to heal. It is here we know who we are and what our true authentic self wants.  

There is a lot to hear in each breath we take.

The natural world flows at the pace we evolved for millions of years to function at.  It’s an evolutionary gap to function nonstop at today’s fast paced life.  As women our menstrual cycles follow the rhythm of the moon. That still blows my mind! Our other hormones including insulin (blood sugar), cortisol (get up and go hormone), melatonin (sleepy hormone), and more all flow with the natural cycles. When we have bright lights in winter or late at night, air conditioning blasted in summer, caffeine when we are tired, or our phones every time we are bored, we are disrupting the connection with our true selves and how we have evolved to be. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no purist, but taking time and taking steps to connect with the natural world connects us to our natural pace we evolved to be at so we can feel and know who we are deep down. 

So I invite you to connect with who you are this equinox, feel who you were meant to be, at the pace we have evolved at.  Meditating even 5 minutes every morning is transformational. There are books and apps and classes to help but just paying attention to your breath, without judgment, is a great and simple way to start today.   Find a piece of wild to get out in once a day as well. Feel the dirt under your feet, light a candle on a dark morning, listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, walk under the full moon on a cold night, or brew up a cup of herbal tea to enjoy quietly.  

I invite you to slow down 

Listen

Feel

Be

And even if you have to disappoint someone else, bravely be the person you were meant to be

Happy fall equinox. Wild love, Janel

Insomnia vs “Catching the Wave”

There is a perfect wave that if we time right and catch we will get optimal sleep effortlessly. This wave is made up of hormones and includes melatonin at its highest, cortisol at its lowest, and insulin at its lowest and evolved to be our best sleep aid.

Melatonin levels rise as the sky becomes darker and ideally peaks somewhere around 10pm, depending on the season. If we allow our world to be darker at this time, as we are meant to do, melatonin will help ease us into sleep. Things that disrupt melatonin are bright lights, even small lights in our room, television, phones, computers, etc. FREE APP FOR REDUCING BLUE LIGHT ON DEVICES- https://justgetflux.com/

Cortisol (a stress hormone that we need to face the demands of the day but not too much) levels are meant to be at their lowest around 10pm. Our cortisol is designed to peak at daybreak so we wake up ready for the day and slowly decline as the day goes on. If we are able to keep our stressors low at night we can ride this low cortisol wave into optimal sleep and stay asleep. Things that raise cortisol at night are any stressor (emotional, physical, infections, allergens, blood sugar spikes, toxins, and more). By having a peaceful evening, unwinding, learning to mitigate stress through deep relaxation, meditation and breathing you can lower your insulin even in the face of emotional stress. Getting to sleep before cortisol starts to rise or spikes again is key to healthy cortisol levels at night. READ MORE ABOUT STRESSORS HERE THAT PEOPLE DO NOT OFTEN THINK ABOUT but are crucial to address with insomnia and to ensure cortisol is not impacting your sleep

Insulin, a hormone made in our pancreas that helps us clear our blood of glucose, is meant to be low at night again around 10pm. Hopefully we ate dinner by 7pm which was packed with fiber, healthy fat, and clean protein keeping our blood sugar from swinging too high and then too low. It is even important to keep our blood sugar regulated throughout the day as that contributes to keeping our blood sugar stable at night so we can sleep peacefully. READ ABOUT MONITORING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR HERE– this is not just for diabetics but for anyone with blood sugar swings (which is honestly most of us).

After addressing the three big hormones involved with sleep I always consider nutrients that might be lacking, such as B6, selenium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D. There are several amino acids and neurotransmitters necessary for good sleep as well. And finally, herbs are a lovely addition and and sometimes just what people need to help ease them into a perfect nights rest. HERB COMPANIES I LOVE- GAIA, HERB PHARM, MOUNTAIN ROSE

Sex hormones can also impact sleep. As our estrogen and progesterone change with our menstrual cycle and age our sleep can be impacted. Addressing sex hormone imbalance might be necessary to influence better sleep. More on that to come! Look for our 4 week group hormone balancing workshop!!

I love digging into sleep disturbances with people and helping people catch the wave. Call for your 15 free consult to see if I can help you.

Surfs up!

Shifting The Terrain And Addressing The Roots Leads to Longterm Health and Resilience

Why do symptoms occur and why does disease set in?

What is the Terrain in the body?

Is the soil such for health to grow or for sickness to set in?

How is our internal terrain impacting our genes (epigenetics)?

Is this symptom the problem or is it only a branch on the tree where we still need to find the root cause?

These are all important questions that are often overlooked in healthcare in a rush to find a quick fix but are in fact essential to longterm wellness.

I am asked daily “what can I do for my headaches?” or “What do you recommend for better sleep?” or “How can I get my energy back?”. Although I will take an easy way out if there is one, usually for sustainable and notable changes we need to shift the overall terrain in the body and address the roots instead of the branches.

Perhaps the headache is caused by a lack of estrogen and if we just treat the headache, the root problem will still be there, wreaking havoc somewhere else. The woman wanting more sleep might have an underlying blood sugar problem where her cortisol is surging in the middle of the night waking her up. Taking something for sleep won’t solve the underlying blood sugar imbalance but instead will just mask the symptom. Someone low on energy might not have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach to properly digest iron or B12, which are both needed for energy.

Where there is certainly a place for a quick fix or temporary relief from a nagging or painful symptom, going deeper and being curious about what is causing the symptom or listening to what the symptom is trying to tell us is important. Addressing the terrain of the body includes maximizing digestion, making sure absorption is functional, reducing overall inflammation and oxidative damage, balancing hormones including cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin (blood sugar hormone), and more upstream imbalances or roots. Most often addressing the roots takes care of several branches instead of frantically trying to target all the bothersome branches one at a time.

What is the soil or terrain like in your body? What can you take away to shift it towards health? What can you add? Are your symptoms branches or roots? Come dork out with me if you want to learn more! Book your free 15 minute consult to see if I can help. Taking new clients in September 2019

What the hell is stress? Hint, it might not be what you think……..and what you can do now to help!

“Reduce your stress”

We hear it from our doctors, our yoga teacher, our partners, our friends, nutritionists, or healer of any type and most of us know it at a cellular level.  We know we would benefit if we did but still we are all stressed out today and most of us are exhausted because of it.  Understanding  the various forms of stress is key to getting a handle on it and giving our body the break it is desperately seeking. 

You will most likely  be surprised to learn how many places stress is coming from today.  Jump right to the list at the bottom if you can’t wait.  Otherwise, a bit on stress itself. 

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any demand and then bringing our body back into balance. These demands can be physical, emotional, or mental and come from the inside our outside world. The stress response involves a chemical cascade of events that prepares the body to ‘fight or flight’, activating our sympathetic nervous system.  Our pupils dilate, blood is pumped from the digestive and reproductive system to our muscles and heart, our blood sugar spikes so we can have fuel, our heart rate increases, and blood pressure increases. If functioning properly we return to rest and digest when the stress is gone so all other vital body systems can function again, and our parasympathetic nervous system takes over, ahhhh.  

We need to be in ‘rest and digest’ to procreate, grow hair, maintain hormone balance, digest our food, think intellectually, have that oh so yummy feeling of calm, and much more. We need to be in ‘fight or flight’ to fight off the tiger, survive a famine, or a similar acute stressors that we evolved to face for thousands of years. It turns on, then it turns off. We are back in balance, in theory.  But alas….

Today stress comes from all of the following and they each have the same ‘Stressful’ effect on our body. Our ability to adapt to stress has kept us brilliantly resilient and able to handle all sorts of demands over thousands of years.  We are well adapted at handling acute stress and some stress actually makes us stronger (look for my blog on hormesis).  The problem today is we are not successfully turning off this stress response due to the amount and steady influx of triggers, which is leading to long term damage, depletion, and Chronic Disease.   Furthermore, we are not resting after stress as we are meant to. Most of these go round robin, creating more stress, which creates more of the problem, more depletion, and the cycle continues. 

Excessive cortisol (our stress hormone produced in the adrenals in response to all forms of stress) from nonstop stress can increase visceral fat, break down muscles, increase inflammation, increase cravings, decrease immune function, deplete adrenals, disrupt hormone balance, breakdown bone, decrease memory or intelligence, increase depression, slow down metabolism, and more.**

Sources of Stress-

Emotional Stress- This is the stress we are most familiar with:  Money, partners, kids, work, bills, trauma, early childhood trauma, etc. No two people respond to emotional stress in the same way.  Something that brings me joy may be your nightmare and vise versa. Many people have a hard time turning emotional stress off these days with our busy, fast paced lives.

  • What to do to help? Try meditation, deep relaxation, adaptogen herbs, daily breathing exercise, restorative yoga, tai chi, leaving toxic relationships, laughing, dancing, or guided imagery.  You can both work at reducing emotional stress as well as processing it better. 

Toxic or Environmental Stress There are thousands of new chemicals in our world today that we are exposed to daily and our bodies have not had the time to adapt to the quantity or quality we are exposed to. The build up of toxins and increased nutrient burden on our body to detox them can create a chronic stress response, putting us in chronic ‘fight or flight’. Toxic stress comes through our air, water, food, skin products, cleaning products, furniture, laundry detergent, lawn care products, paint, plastics, and more.

  • What to do to help?   Reduce your exposure to toxins by eating organic, washing produce, getting a water filter, throwing out all plastic food/drink containers, using organic skin care products, eating pastured raised grass fed antibiotic free meats, swapping out home cleaning products with simple vinegar and water, etc. 

Nutrient Deficiencies and food triggers The foods we are consuming today have far less nutrients than the foods our ancestors ate. We are generally overfed and undernourished. This is due to several reasons including consuming popular and highly processed nutrient deficient foods, less nutrient soils producing less nutritious produce, problems digesting and absorbing foods properly and the need for more nutrients today to handle the extra stress and toxins we are processing. Being deficient in one nutrient alone, such as iron or magnesium,  is stress.  Furthermore, consuming foods we are sensitive to creates stress. 70% of our immune system is in our gut and is activated when we ingest hard to digest foods for you specifically, which causes inflammation.

  • What to do to help? Grow your own vegetables, eat organic, eat foods in their whole form, reduce/eliminate processed packaged convenience foods, eat the rainbow (colorful fruits and veg), include nuts/seeds, add booster foods, restore digestive function so you digest and absorb the foods you are eating, eat healthy fats, use bitters before you eat, avoid food sensitivities, etc.

Silent, undetected, or chronic Infections and Parasites– Infections both acute and chronic are stressful on our body and cause a chronic low grade immune response. Viruses can hide out in the body without symptoms and re-emerge in times of weakened immunity. Two viruses that do this are Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus. Yeast imbalances also do this. When the immune system is activated by these and other silent or recurrent invaders or imbalances it uses energy and precursors needed for other functions and is in a constant state of inflammation which causes a systemic stress response.

  • What to do to help? Be aware of the terrain in your body and what it attracts.  Keep inflammation low, reduce sugary foods, keep the immune system in balance, maintain healthy microbes, and if needed use antimicrobials, antivirals, and antiparasitics to rid the body of pests.

Blood Sugar Imbalances– Every time your blood sugar drops too low the stress response is activated to get fuel for your body.  Cortisol rises and the stress cascade begins. When we consume too much sugar with not enough fiber and protein we get dysregulations and the ups and downs in blood sugar are bigger than we are meant to handle which is perceived again as stress.  Even trendy intermittent fasting can be too stressful for someone with blood sugar swings.  Insomnia can be due to blood sugar fluctuations alone!  Jump over here to learn more about your blood sugar

  • What to do to help? Check your blood glucose levels at home, make sure to eat fat/fiber/protein at every meal and snack, reduce sugary foods, eat regularly throughout the day to maintain steady glucose/insulin, eat healthy fats (coconut, olive oil, avocado, nuts/seeds, olives) and fiberous fruits and veggies. 

Lack of Sleep- Sleep is when we repair and rejuvenate, when we rest and digest.  When we are deprived of sleep it spikes our blood sugar and increases night cortisol (stress) leading to a cascade of downstream hormone dysfunction.  More stress, less sleep, more stress, less sleep, and the cycle continues no matter what came first. Lack of sleep is stressful on the body.

  • What to do to help?  Go to bed and wake at the same time every day, make sure your room is dark and cool, skip daytime caffeine, try amino acids, find a night time ritual, get blood sugar under control, ‘catch the night time low cortisol wave’, try herbs such as passionflower or kava. 

  

Bacterial dysbiosis  The lining of the gut is composed of millions of diverse organisms that when balanced helps us digest food, detox our environment, maintain the integrity of our gut lining barrier (aka prevent leaky gut), balance our neurotransmitters, keep our hormones balanced, synthesize vitamins, keep our immune system from overacting, and more.  Various things in our environment can throw this balance off such as antibiotic use, eating a low fiber or high sugar diet, stress itself, certain medications, lack of nutrients, lack of friendly microbe exposure, being born via cesarean, or not being breastfed.

  • What to do to help? Avoid unnecessary antibiotics and medications, limit alcohol, eat fermented foods, reduce sugary foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, play in the dirt, breastfeed, supplement with probiotics, etc. 

Physical Stress or Trauma Overexercise, accidents or trauma, excessive hot or cold, childbirth, surgeries, diagnosed diseases or system dysfunctions, overeating, sunburn, etc all cause our sympathetic nervous system to kick in and the stress cascade to begin or continue.

  • What to do to help? Protect your body from physical injury, do not overeat, rest and recuperate after trauma, find moderation and joy. 

 

Stress directly affects our brain, our hormones, our thyroid, our sleep, our metabolism, our immune system, our mood, our energy, and more.  All the stress we are exposed to accumulates to form our total stress load, or allostatic load. Which specific stressor that overflows our ‘bucket’ might not have had a huge affect normally but it may be just enough to tip the scale, overflow the bucket, and get our attention.  How much stress we can tolerate, aka how resilient we are, varies from person to person depending on our genetics, history, nutrient intake, mindset, and more. Knowing what is adding to your total stress load is key in helping to reduce it, process it, or eliminate it so you can function better.

What stressors are filling your bucket? What are you doing to decrease this stress or increase your resilience?

Decrease any of these stressors here and improve your health!

Emotional Footnote- This is not meant to stress you out.  Instead, this is meant to empower you to take a front seat in your journey towards wellness.  Stay tuned for more on Stress and Adrenals and How You Can Become More Resilient!!!

**Check out this 6 minute video to see how high cortisol (stress hormone) impacts physiology.    You Tube Video- How High Cortisol Impacts Physiology (and fat loss) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLUU0b-VuD0

 

References

Bauman, Ed and Friedlander, Jodi. 2019. Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook Part 1.  

Romm, Dr. Aviva.  The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. 2017. New York, NY. Harper One.

Cass, Dr. Hyla. 2018. Lecture on Insomnia. Functional Nutrition Lab.

Nakayama, Andrea.  2018. Functional Nutrition Full Body Systems. Endocrine 3

Plus, what you can do right now to help reduce your systemic stress!!!

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